Sunday, 3 November 2013

Alexander's Choice by Edmund Marlowe

I have been reading Alexander's Choice by Edmund Marlowe.  This Eton set book has set tongues wagging as to who Alexander might be.  Some have even suggested that he is modelled on Boris Johnson, right era etc.  Seems implausible to me, I could not imagine anyone being attracted to Johnson!  There is a lot of great (and baffling detail) on the running of Eton as a school and how it is organised.  The Old Etonian Association said it was unlikely they would accept an advertisement for it in their annual review (correction provided by Edmund Marlowe himself).  Too close to home I imagine.
I have been watching the series on Harrow School as well.  What impressed me was the ridiculous amount of kit every boy needs.  Still the boys and the masters came over as pleasant people, not something I would have claimed was true in my day at a similar school.  I do recall we had a rowing fixture against Harrow and seeing a boy with bright green hair (or it may have been blonde and he was wearing lime green which made his hair seem green).  I was impressed and I have to say somewhat drawn to him!


  1. It's an exaggeration to say Eton has disowned Alexander's Choice. To the best of my knowledge, all "it" has done that might be construed in those terms is that the Old Etonian Association said it was unlikely they would accept an advertisement for it in their annual review, though they would have listed it there had it been written in my real name. In contrast, I'm told (though haven't confirmed) it was favourably reviewed in the school magazine. I hope you'll enjoy it whatever the school thinks of it.

    As for Boris Johnson, you may very well think that, I couldn't possibly comment ...

  2. I have corrected what I originally said, apologies. I am amused that you leave the door open to BoJo being the model, giving his squat and solid appearance, it is (fortunately) hard to imagine him as a candidate for the role.


  3. Thank you. I have earnestly felt bound never to make comments that could shed light on whom my characters may or may not be inspired by, but I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t try to bolster your personal faith in Alexander’s desirability by simply pointing out facts in the public domain such as that BoJo was six years older and, despite The Daily Mail & co., had left Eton well before my story opens.

  4. Mr Copeland. Hello, I'm Mike.
    I have only just joined, though I am 76. Slow learner, you see...
    I refer to your 2011 blog where you said that your mind caught up with your body when you were 12? I love that way of expressing that sudden boy-epiphany! My own awakening happened soon after I was 14. B was only weeks younger than I — but he was much younger physically. The feelings were so intense that it caused me real pain, as well as deep joy. Being the realist that I have always been, I saw all of the problems lurking ahead — in those first moments — in that steamy changing room.

    I was a realist so young? A war-time boy whose mother was twice divorced; my prep school years were much more knowing than either Pip's or Sacha's. I fact, in the mid-40s, we were all a lot more world weary.
    Surprisingly, the sixties was an obvious and refreshing return to innocence.

    Reading Scholarship, I fell deeply in love with Sacha. Having obsessive feelings myself, I felt deep affection, for Pip, too.
    The last scene between the two was heart-wrenchingly brilliant. Pain and joy again? Yes! The story of my life

  5. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for your comments, it sounds like we had similar experiences, the pain, the joy as you say. Intrigued that you think the 1960s was a return to innocence though!